Vote-By-Mail ballots on their way to Broward County voters

LAUDERHILL, Fla. – U.S. Postal Service trailer trucks arrived to the Voter Equipment Center in Lauderhill around 11 a.m. Thursday to collect about 250,000 Vote-By-Mail ballots that are being sent to Broward County voters who have requested a ballot for the general election.

Broward County Supervisor of Elections Pete Antonacci anticipates that at least an additional 200,000 ballots will be mailed in the following three days and additional ballot requests will be processed through Oct. 24.

“I’m planning on a 75% turnout in November, which is about 4.5% greater than there’s ever been in Broward County,” Antonacci said earlier this month as the election was a topic of conversation in a county commission meeting. “That’s a heap of voters. And I think in rough numbers there will be somewhere between 450,000 and 500,000 vote by mail, about 300,000 or so early votes and about 200,000 on election day.”

That would top the 2016 election, which saw a 70% turnout.

According to elections officials, 291,051 VBM ballots were mailed to voters and 203,400 VBM ballots were timely returned during the 2016 General Election.

As was seen during the primary, a large influx of voters are deciding to vote by mail because of the coronavirus pandemic.

There has been tense scrutiny over the U.S. Postal Service, which was also addressed Thursday.

“I’m here to report to you a great deal of success with the post office,” Antonacci told commissioners. “And I’ve done the best that we can in our office to encourage people to use the services of the post office.”

Broward has already announced it will provide 24 vote-by-mail dropoff locations across the county ahead of Election Day, for voters who want to fill out their ballot ahead of time and deliver it without relying on the post office.

Logic and accuracy testing of ballot counting machines was also underway Thursday at the Broward Elections headquarters.

“What we’re doing is making sure all of these machines are working,” Commissioner Michael Udine said.

The testers are a canvassing board that follows state statute -- a county commissioner, the supervisor of elections and a county judge. There were also representatives from each political party present.

“Then will do a fake run through of certain different ballot styles,” Udine explained. “They’ll bring them into the counting room, they’ll count them. We’ll make sure that everything equals out, everything works. Then they go back to zero, so these machines can be certified.”

Important Dates

Oct. 5: Deadline to register for general election

Oct. 24: Deadline to request vote-by-mail ballot for general election

Oct. 19-Nov. 1: Early voting period for general election

Nov. 3: General election, polls open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

BE ELECTON READY: 2020 voter guide

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